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Friday, March 30, 2012

Promoting Success (R)

Promoting Success
In my previous entry I wrote on our successful re-certification now running for 11 consecutive years.  We received a positive comment congratulating us on our success.  It was much appreciated.  But of interest, I received some emails that were more negative, the gist of which was that there is little point for self-promotion other than satisfying some personal need. 
With respect I have to strongly disagree. 
Reporting and promoting success is a critical part of the culture of quality.  Here are some of the reasons why:
  • Meeting certification or accreditation requirements does not come easily; it takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment from all your staff.  Letting people know of your success is one way of rewarding through recognition for their efforts. 
  • Promoting success is an important building block for group culture of quality.  Making others aware of your achievement reinforces the positives of working within your organization.
  • Quality Partners have an obligation to be seen to both “talk the talk” and also to “walk the walk”.  It is our demonstration to our partners and customers that we take Quality seriously.  If we can do it, then so can others.
  • Our customers, in this sense the hospitals and laboratories and physicians that work with us, need to be aware that laboratories do have standards and participate in inspection on a regular basis, and that when we are assessed we are found to be meeting our requirements and achieving success.  This is especially important for Quality Partners like Proficiency Testing providers and Accreditation Bodies.  All too often laboratories believe that we work to our own interests and set ourselves up as experts and authorities.  I learned this the hard way when I was publically scolded by a laboratory technologist for this very issue.  Indeed, it was this experience that made me realize that animosity for accreditors and proficiency testing suppliers and regulators runs very deep; we are seen with a lot of suspicion.  It is very important for laboratorians to know that just as we have expectations on them for success, others view us in the exact same way.  And more importantly we commit to the responsibility for those expectations. 
  • The people who make decisions about whether or not they should use our program need to be aware that we go the extra mile to ensure that we can provide value and that we are open and transparent when it comes to our own Quality.  They have confidence that they made the right decision to work with us as a Quality Provider. 
  • The public needs to know, especially in the environment in which we live today that we take Quality seriously.  Again this week failures in laboratory performance (radiologists in Quebec) were front and centre in the news.  The public is regularly become aware of our failures.  It is important for them to be aware of our successes.
I am surprised at how many organizations don’t recognize the importance of sharing with others their success.  Most private companies get it, and it is common to see logos and certificates on their advertisements, their trucks, there letterhead and their web-sites.  Promoting excellence has a business value.  I recognize that in North America the majority of laboratories are public sector rather than private and business is less a consideration. 

But confidence building and quality assurance have cachet.  Everyone from politicians, to regulators, to administrators understands the public value of confidence and quality assurance.  That is why there are institutions like the National Quality Institute and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

So we intend to continue along our path to inform all our customers of our success through our newsletter, our website, and send-out materials.  We will raise awareness at every public speaking opportunity.  And we will continue to do this year after year.  And for those who consider promoting success as some sort of self-aggrandizement, or bragging, or manifestation of superiority, or some casting doubt on the quality and competence of our colleagues, they need to deal with it. 

1 comment:

  1. I think the reluctance of laboratories to shine a light on their successes is again part of the introverted nature of laboratories and laboratorians (to echo your comment on March 11th). I think we all believe in an open and transparent judgement of the quality we provide on a day to day basis. So the positive performance of a laboratory or related organization is just as valuable to note as when something goes sour (like INR testing in Saskatchewan this week). Colin Semple Manager, Accreditation and Research Development Diagnostic Accreditation Program of BC
    By Colin Semple on Promoting Success at 11:37 AM

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